As a lover of conversation and critical inquiry, I have often found myself trapped in a corner, afraid to reach out into the future. A large percentile of my being definitely wants to return to Indonesia, yet the slivering portions left question whether or not Indonesia will offer me such possibilities. Mortal issues, such as this, are often shoved under the bed as I hope that it would either be devoured by a monster or forgotten by the bustling sections in my mind. The big question of doom may not seem as tragic to most, but it definitely has drawn unwanted creases on my complexion.
The BIG question reads: Who will I have these meta-conversations with?
Before I sound more condescending, I beg you to remember past and current exchanges. As you sit at a Starbucks, have you ever heard anyone talk about the connection between these chain brands to the poverty across Indonesia for more than thirty minutes? As traffic ensues, do you ever wonder aloud how traffic is a metaphor for an extended list of phenomena in Indonesia? Or do you, instead, complain about the swerving motorcycles that suddenly come out of nowhere and sigh deeply as you come across what seems to be a deadlock?
To be honest, I have had these brilliant banters and sometimes they are much more exhilarating than the ones I experience in the U.S. Please note, that in the U.S. I go to a liberal arts school that naturally attracts endless sages. Unfortunately, though, I could count on one finger the amount of times I have had these conversations with a peer, which can be loosely defined as someone under thirty at 2013.
This blog, however, has changed the rhythm, as well as proven the attitudes that many Indonesian young adults possess. For instance, Relatively Overweight: New York and Jakarta battle it out as one girl struggles to define herself between the shifting paradigms, one of the latest blog posts, have garnered fascinating responses. A, an old girl friend, urged me to realize that it is more important to “adapt” than to compare. “You need to realize that this is Indonesia, not America,” she wrote in a text. However, the little voice in my head begs the question whether or not Indonesia is completely isolated from America. Furthermore, it wonders the downright futility of change. Of course, me being me, had to extinguish my pang of anger with some analysis and questions, not to mention an ‘A-ha’ moment. I was certain that if this conversation was being carried amongst American, English, and Singaporean college students, especially those enrolled in top or liberal arts universities, a fight would take place. A defeatist perspective, though often brought up, is rarely the end of the conversation. Thankfully, it has been proven to be the fuel for an extended discussion.
Another response, which I received from a male friend, lead to a confession: as a guy, he did find certain women more attractive than others based on their weight. What began as an awkward back-and-forth between close friends, who rarely says more than a short sentence via Whatsapp, grew into a much more interesting debate on the root of this phenomena.
Although, I am currently at the n=2, my mind has begun fluttering. As I look back on either conversation, I start wondering the influence of their upbringing, fluency in Indonesian vs. English, gender, relationship status, and educational background on their perspectives. Moreover, I question how my relationship to each individual influenced the results from the conversation.
|Are we being age-ist or size-ist here? Just because I'm small- Wait, breathe, SMILE|
Amidst this train of “what ifs”, I stop myself to smile. Even though, I am in Indonesia I was able to share critical and in-depth discussions with my peers. And perhaps, this blog has become some sort of doorway to the world of other thinkers and possible conversations. It triggers certain topics to emerge and be swayed back and forth. In addition, it has made me much more aware of other bloggers, who are in some ways equally and more critical, not to mention poetic, in thinking and writing than I have ever been. What began as a tiny endeavor on a boring rainy day has gained steam, with both the encouragement of a wonderful set of professors, as well as a great set of readers. Indonesia, though it may not house as many visible critical wonderers, is definitely home to a myriad of phenomena that are ready to be discussed in any casual passing. Finally, perhaps, it is about time for this little voice to thank the readers of her blog. The impersonal number that show up on the screen reminds me that I should be much more aware of what, when and how I write. And as for the future of this virtual page, I sense that it will involve you, the readers, in some magical way that I, a technically challenged girl, have yet been able to fathom.
Terima kasih = Thank you
*Author owns rights to both photographs